Olympians and ex-players call for sweeping changes in PHF after Pakistan’s failure to qualify for Hockey World Cup | Hockey News

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KARACHI: Once the powerhouse of the game, Pakistan’s failure to qualify for the Men’s Hockey World Cup has created uproar in the country, with former players struggling to digest and calling for heads to roll in the federation national.
Pakistani hockey suffered a blow on Thursday when they lost to Japan 2-3 in their final Poll A game of the ongoing Asian Cup.
While India prevailed 16-0 against hosts Indonesia, Pakistan were knocked out of the tournament and also failed to qualify for next year’s FIH World Cup which will be held in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.
Once the undisputed champions of world hockey, Pakistan reeled from one crisis to another and from one disappointment to another and Thursday’s blow led to renewed calls for the dismissal of the longtime president of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Brigadier (Retired) Khalid Sajjad Khokar and Coach Khawaja Junaid
Junaid, a former Olympian, has been regularly associated with the senior and junior national teams since his retirement.
“It’s very difficult to digest that for the second time we failed to qualify for the World Cup. Where is our hockey going now?” former captain and Olympian Samiullah interviewed.
Another former captain and Olympian, Islahuddin, said it was heartbreaking that Pakistan failed to qualify for the last two Olympics and now their second consecutive World Cup.
“There was a time when such great events were incomplete without Pakistan,” he said.
Islahuddin’s worries are understandable given that Pakistan, which is a proud hockey nation with three Olympic gold medals, four World Cup titles and numerous victories at Asian level, is now without a major title since 2010. when he won gold at the Asian Games.
Pakistan had high hopes of qualifying for the World Cup after beating Indonesia 13-0 in the Asian Cup, but rivals India, who needed 15 goals to qualify for the stage of the Super 4, dashed his hopes.
Ahead of the ongoing Asian Cup, the PHF even sent the team on a training tour in Europe besides appointing Dutchman Siefred Aikman as head coach.
Former famed centre-forward Hasan Sardar says other Asian countries have taken the lead while Pakistan have been left behind due to poor national structure. “You couldn’t even imagine that Japan could beat us,” he said.
The current situation does not bode well for the future of the sport in the country, with former stalwarts wondering what’s next for Pakistani hockey.
“We really need people to run hockey who have no self-interest. We need coaches who are willing to work selflessly and aren’t there for per diems and overseas trips. “Samiullah said.
Olympian Rasheed ul Hasan pointed out that the two common factors behind the dismal results of Pakistani hockey in recent years have been the president of the PHF and Khawaja Junaid.
“What have these two achieved so far despite being here for so many years now. Khokar has been president for seven years now,” he said.
“We have always measured our hockey strength with India and it hurts to see the Indian team now overtaking us in all departments. I think drastic measures are needed from the government to stop this decline,” said Pakistan’s most successful captain and coach, Islahuddin. said.



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